Exercise awareness good to see

Friday November 24, 2017 Published in Letters to the Editor

It was good to see people using Constitution Park for walking and raising awareness of the need for fitness during the for men’s health campaign that featured in CINews recently. 


Hopefully all of those involved in the initial media promotion will continue to use and benefit from the exercise programme.

Meanwhile, Thomas Wynne has been leading the way by example of his own awareness for increased health and exercise, by joining the Zuu program.

When it comes to fitness and health, one size, type or style does not fit all. When it comes to going to a gym, and regular classes, not everyone can get up or wants to get up at 5am in the morning to put themselves through a boot camp of sweat and pain. Most often in these classes the motto is “pain is gain,” but for me and others I know, it’s a case of “pain is pain” and I am happy to sit that type of exercise programme out.

Walking around Constitution Park is more the style of me and my friends as it is readily available, open any time of the day, does not require instruction or special clothes and you could do it in jandals if you want.

Health and improved fitness is easily achievable, when done consistently and more regularly every day. Walking can increase fitness, health and general wellbeing without undue stress, strain and pain.

While studying for my degree in Phys Ed from Otago University I studied, participated in and instructed many styles of fitness regimes and crazes over the years.

I have programmed and monitored individuals of all ages’ shapes and fitness levels in various programmes, from rehabilitation, weight loss and sports endurance to body-building. 

One factor I have found important if people are going to continue their exercise programme long term, is how easily it fits into a person’s daily work and leisure time constraints. 

Every New Year most people promise themselves they will go to the gym more often. They sign up, they pay monthly and go maybe once or twice, a week or a month. Lots fall out of the routine of attending or don’t start until the following New Year. 

My mother-in-law gets up every morning at 6am and swims for an hour at her place of employment because they have a pool and facilities she can use before she starts her day. It fits in nicely with her timetable and so she continues to use this facility as she can feel how it keeps her mind and body healthy. She has been doing this for 25 years without fail.

It works well for her, but no-one else in the family has her commitment and we do other things. Some people find waking up let alone getting up early much too difficult and will either not start a programme that requires early starts or after the 4-6 week “boot camp” type programme find it difficult to keep the routine going on a daily basis.

  The Subway franchise tells a true story about a man who walked to a Subway store every day twice a day to eat a sandwich for breakfast and again later for dinner. Over a consistent period of time he lost a lot of weight and went from being very obese to a sporting fit, slim man.

He hadn’t made too many changes in his diet. Instead, he added more activity to burn up the calories he was eating and those he had stored in his body as fat. He simply swapped from driving to the store to walking.

If you have been told you have a non-communicable disease (NCD) or as I call it, EGD (early grave disease) and are facing the doctor’s orders to do more exercise to decrease your waistline and increase your  lifespan, then I suggest having a look at how you can make it a daily activity. 

  Do what the Subway man did. Instead of driving all the way to work try parking 1 km away and walk in, then walk back to your car at the end of the day. This instantly adds 2km of daily exercise and can be done without having to change clothes too much.

Wear a t-shirt and sneakers for the walk and change into your work shirt when you arrive. Over a working week this equals 10km a great starting achievement. 

Or perhaps when you get home before dinner you can take the dogs for a walk, or the kids to the beach to walk for 10- 20 mins. This works, but we all know life gets in the way. Once we get home, and exercise is moved to “some other time”, then never.

Walking to work only requires leaving 15- 20mins earlier. You can even car pool and take a workmate in to walk with you. I have found that with any exercise programme, if it is does not require a lot of preparation, money and effort to start, you will start enjoying it and you are more likely to continue with it. As you get fitter, walk faster, then try parking further away, you will find that as you keep at it your health and fitness will improve and so will your energy and body shape.

Carry a water bottle and drink plenty of water, and you will cleanse your body at the same time. 

The hardest part of fitness programmes is starting, but every 1000km journey starts with a single step.  Walk for life, walk for your life and for the better life of your family as you lead the way by example one step at a time.

            Ruta Tangiiau Mave`


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